Usually if something has been done a certain way for a long time, there's a good reason for it. Don't break from a tradition unless you know what that reason is, and have a better reason for doing so.
In the case of the Table of Contents, it's useful to have it right up front so the readers can easily access it. In cases where chapters have names, it can help someone to find where they left off reading if they lost their place. Or if there's a long Foreword to the book that the reader just plain doesn't want to read, they can use the TOC to easily skip it (like previews at the beginning of DVD's. Don't get me started).
Of course, with ebooks these points aren't quite as important, especially with the navigator TOC, but they're still valid.